Dodoma/Njombe. As the government insists that the killings of children in Njombe District are associated with superstitious beliefs, some traditional healers say some of them are revenge missions.
Yesterday, Home Affairs minister Kangi Lugola told Parliament that a preliminary investigation had revealed that abductions and killings of children were related to witchcraft beliefs.
He was responding to a supplementary question by MP Mendrad Kigola (Mufindi South --CCM).
But speaking during a meeting with deputy Home Affairs minister Hamad Masauni in Njombe, some traditional healers distanced themselves from the killings.
They argued that some of the killings were revenge missions.
Mr Anthony Nwandulami, who has been a traditional healer for over 30 years, said the incidents were new to the district. Mr Nwandulami, who is also a leader of the in Njombe Regional Association of Traditional Healers, believes that revenge, inheritance and land conflicts among the residents are the main factors behind the abductions and killings.
“For example, Mr [Danford] Nziku of Ikando Village, who lost three children, was involved in a land conflict,” he claimed. According to him, Mr Nziku was nearly burnt to death a few years ago.
Bena chief Elias Mkongwa is saddened by the incidents and accused some government officials of not registering traditional healers who migrate to the region.
“Previously we [chiefs] were involved in the vetting of traditional healers, but we aren’t involved anymore…I think if the killings have something to do with witchcraft it is because chiefs aren’t involved in vetting them,” he said.
Njombe is still tense. Parents and guardians escort their children to school and back home as they fear that they may be abducted.
Mji Mwema Street resident Bahati Yovela said although authorities had tightened security it was important to escort schoolchildren.
Ten children have been reported to have been brutally killed in suspected ritual killings in region in the past three months.
Three of them – Godliva Mwenda, 11; Gasper Nziku, 8, and Giliad Nziku, 5 – belong to one family.
Acting Regional Police Commander Rashid Ngonyani said at the burial ceremony that a relative was being held in connection with the killings.
Mr Masauni has vowed that the government would pursue all the suspects and bring them to book.